THE 20 DOLLAR FARE EXPOSED AS A MIRAGE
‘It is all about making noise, but when you dig deeper you find that it is all a bunch of hog wash, the 20 Dollar fare is subject to so much in extra and those extras demanded when you check in, you are better off with KQ or PW or U7 than this lot’ ranted a regular aviation source in Dar es Salaam yesterday when discussing the entry of FastJet into the Tanzanian and East African aviation market. ‘With them you get an inclusive ticket price and FastJet is pulling a fast one on the public by talking ‘fare’ instead of ticket. It is a violation of laws too from my standpoint because you cannot dupe the public into believing that the figure you give is what they in the end pay. You must include taxes and all to show an inclusive price just like restaurants cannot show a price for an item and then in very small print at the bottom somewhere say ‘add 15 percent service charge and 20 percent VAT’. Well some do but it is illegal.
The 20 Dollar is the plain fare but the ticket involves a lot more, fuel supplements for instance, airport taxes and fees and when digging a bit deeper, these chaps make you pay a lot at the counter in cash when you come with baggage. For every piece of baggage they charge you, probably more than the fare, and I would not be surprised if they come up with the rubbish they do in Europe like charge you for check in because you have not used a machine or done it on the web, or charge for boarding passes to be printed because you have not done so before coming to the airport. They fail to tell the public how they operate to squeeze money out of them when least expected and knowing how our people travel there will be riots at check in when the staff suddenly demand another 20 bucks for this and another 30 bucks for that. Our aviation regulator should prevent this from happening and make FastJet come up with full disclosure of hidden charges before they are allowed to fly. The traveling public has a right to know in advance what they have to pay and not be subjected to a fast one, pun fully intended here’.
FastJet is set to commence operations from Dar es Salaam with an inaugural flight to Nairobi, then to be served up to 3 times a day with a 150+ seater Airbus A319 in an all economy configuration, before adding domestic flights to Kilimanjaro and Mwanza, a route from where Fly540 Tanzania has already withdrawn. That airline cited in a communication ‘preparations to hand over the route to FastJet’ an assertion rubbished by aviation pundits who pointed at lousy occupancies on flights as the main cause for that decision. When further investigating it also appeared that the much hyped up 20 US Dollar fare, WHICH IS NOT THE COST FOR THE TICKET, will only be available when booked weeks in advance, while the cost of fares when booked just prior to departure may be a multiple of that fare, literally matching existing fares by airlines like Precision Air, Kenya Airways or Air Uganda, with which FastJet is expected to compete. Ready to fly or ready to fail, both words start with the proverbial F …
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